It’s cheaper than you think

Conservative doorknobs shout from their intellectual molehills that climate change is a hoax. The few among them who offer a weak “maybe” to the overwhelming scientific consensus that it’s real nevertheless contend that it would be too costly to reduce carbon emissions. But a new report suggests that the latter may be relatively free or even save money in the long run. The New York Times comments:

The report seeks to upend some longstanding assumptions. It points out, for instance, that the cost of renewable energy has been plunging so fast that most previous analyses of its potential role are out of date. “Renewable energy sources have emerged with stunning and unexpected speed as large-scale, and increasingly economically viable, alternatives to fossil fuels,” the report said.

Perhaps the most important overall point of the report is that economic policies around the world are still aligned to favor fossil fuels, even though unchecked emissions from coal, oil and natural gas represent a potentially grave risk to future generations. “We have to get the prices right,” said Helen Mountford, who worked on the report and is the director of economics at the World Resources Institute, a Washington think tank.

Nowhere is this issue clearer, the commission said, than in the $600 billion a year spent to subsidize fossil fuels, more than six times the level of subsidies going to renewable energy.

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